Eating is a spiritual act.
This past week was Passover and I was invited to a huge Moroccan style Sedar that lasted four hours and had at least six courses of food. I have never seen so much food in my adult life. It just kept coming at me: meat stuffed artichoke hearts, roasted olives, lamb, and on and on. It was delicious and as I waddled home that evening and peeled myself out of my car, I got to thinking about God and the place spirituality has in our relationship with food. In my world, God likes chocolate.
Most women do a complicated dance with food and sometimes it represents our spiritual life. One of the best books on this topic is Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth who writes about food issues and abundance. Eating is a spiritual act because we use it to nurture our bodies, but what is our relationship with food?
For years, my own spiritual relationship with food was like a seesaw or like a love-hate relationship with my high school crush – madly in love one second, full of annoyance and frustration the next. Only I wasn’t putting all of those feelings into a love interest. I was pouring them into my feelings about chocolate, or the size of my thighs, or my fear of carbs. Would this amount of carbs make me fat? (Yes, if I ate a box of cookies.) Would eating only meat make me thinner? (No, it would not, but it would make me sick.)
Building a better relationship with food (or money, or any kind of abundance) has much to do with trusting what we can’t see. We have to trust that we’ll feel good when we eat, that the food will nurture us, and that we’ll be able to trust our own bodies. Much of that trust built around food has to do with God. Perhaps not the big-bearded-man-in-the-sky that we’ve been trained to focus on. Rather, it has to do with trusting a definition of God that includes kindness, faith, and self-trust. Through those things, our relationship with food can become one of trust and even fun. I believe that God is a life force and when we engage that life force – through praying, through faith, or through enjoyment – beautiful things can happen.
By Marissa Cohen
Photo By Carol Beatriz